Publisher: Saga Press
Author: Charlaine Harris
Released: October 2nd 2018
Warnings: Rape, murder
An Easy Death is the first in the newest series by Charlaine Harris, called Gunnie Rose. I have to say that I’m always impressed by how varied all of Charlaine Harris’ series can be. This one is nothing like the others I’ve read by her (though I’m reminded that I need to get caught up in the Midnight Texas series).
Gunnie Rose is intended to be a trilogy, and it is an alternate history fantasy series. Normally I don’t love alternate history books, but this one was shockingly compelling. It’s set in the United States, sometime after the 1930s. There are a couple of major changes that make it an alternate history series. First, everyone believes in magic in this world, and they have good reason to. Second, after FDR was assassinated the country was split up, with each competing country getting a chunk to itself. This splitting of the nation resulted in different laws in areas with lawless zones in between them. Gunnie Rose lives in one of the lawless areas.
Okay, lawless is a bit of a misnomer. There are police, but it’s more like the old fashioned sheriff types. And they’re dreadfully understaffed. They probably have some laws too, but with more criminals that officers it’s safe to say that they’re not well enforced.
On the bright side, that’s the reason why people like Gunnie Rose can do what they do. See, Gunnie is a gunslinger. It’s her job to protect her clients from those criminals, and it doesn’t much matter if she kills them or not. This is ideal, considering that she’s a very very good shot.
Warnings first: In a world like the one I just described to you, it probably isn’t surprising that some horrible things happen in it. In this case there’s a lot of murder, and a decent amount of rape as well. When reading about a gunslinger the murder part probably isn’t too shocking though. There is one somewhat graphic rape scene that occurs in the course of the novel though; not to the main character, but she is around for it. You can see it coming, and can easily skip a page or two to avoid it. There is mention of it being a concern before and after this point, but that is the most detailed part.
An Easy Death was such an enchanting read, I almost wish I could go back and read it all over again for the first time. But sadly, I can’t so instead I’m just going to wait for the next book in the series. At least I have that much for a consolation.
I said it above, but I really don’t read that much by way of alternative history. I think for me it usually just isn’t what I’m looking for – I’d rather see a whole new world than an altered past. But I just couldn’t pass this one by; partially because of the author behind it, and partially because of the description. I’m so happy I made the decision to read it, and so I urge anybody that normally skips over this genre to take a moment and think about it as well.
Gunnie’s character is rough around the edges, but on the whole is extremely endearing. She wants to be seen as rougher and tougher than she is, and in a way that’s a sort of shielding and protection very much needed in her world. But under that false layer is a kind and caring woman. Is she willing to do whatever it takes to protect herself and her charges? Absolutely. But part of that determination comes from her passionate nature – she knows what would happen to those people if she didn’t stand up and protect them (though the money is nice too, I’m sure).
The reason for magic being in the world is an interesting one, and in a way is also very much tied into the history of the novel, and of the world. I don’t know if I would have enjoyed that element as much, if not for the setting it was in. But it really works well in Gunnie’s world.
What I really loved the most about An Easy Death is that there was a little bit of everything: fiction, history (though obviously not of the accurate sort), intrigue, mystery, romance, action, survival, and politics. That may sound like a jumbled mess, but they were all balanced really nicely.
I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, even though realistically that won’t be for a year or two. I can wait. Maybe in the meantime I’ll even get caught up in the other Charlaine Harris series I’ve been enjoying (Midnight Texas).